The second pair of parables Matthew 13:44-46 focused more on how people should respond to the gift of the Kingdom. Both the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great value were hidden and required action of man. We often get stuck at this point and focus on the actions required to find the kingdom, or even worse, on the cost of attaining it as if it were a ticket or a piece of property we could buy. It would be easy to point out that unlike ‘the rich young man’ who couldn’t or wouldn’t give up his wealth to enter the kingdom of God, these men both went and sold all that they had. This has, in many cases, been used as a proof text for the renunciation of wealth as a ‘ticket’ into the Kingdom of Heaven. The important part is not the seeking of what is hidden, but the response to the gift once found. In response to a gift so unexpected and immense their response was total, they gave all. Receiving this gift, our response must be in proportion. Though we can never give back to God in equal measure; enough praise; enough service; enough love; we can commit ourselves wholeheartedly in faith and obedience to his will.
We can not DIY the Kingdom of Heaven, but by that I do not mean to say that we should stop striving for justice in our world, or that there is nothing for us to do at all. In the Parable of the Net (Matthew 13:47-52) those of us who believe and have faith in God; creator, redeemer, and guide, are assured that when the net is drawn in it will be a time of rejoicing for us. It is our role to take this sure knowledge of the kingdom present and the kingdom yet to be fulfilled to those who are still in danger of being thrown out.
Jacob was destined to rule over his brother. He had stolen his birthright and now run away to the land of where Abraham and Sarah had lived. In Genesis 29 he met Rachel at the well and ‘fell in love with her’. When his uncle Laban asked what he wanted in exchange for his work Jacob thought he could do it himself and asked for the hand of Rachel in marriage. We know the rest of the story. Jacob worked hard for seven years and it passed like no time because the reward he expected was so great! She was there in his life every day, but not yet his. He did end up with Rachel as a wife, but not until after he was married to her older sister Leah and agreed to another seven years service. It is not the result that he would have wanted, but with the two sisters and their maids he had what God intended; the means to found the 12 tribes.
Like Jacob we have a great desire, ours for the Kingdom of Heaven. We know that it is here already in part, but not yet fully ours. We know that it is worth the whole world, our whole selves. We know that we can not make it come any faster, but we are happy to work ‘in the fields’ while we wait.